A little over a week before a news, Steven spielberg-directed version of West Side Story – one of his most famous works – is about to hit the big screen, composer Stephen Sondheim is dead. The musical theater giant died Friday at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut. He was 91 years old.
Marianne Elliott, the director of the current Broadway revival of Society, Sondheim’s musical in 1970, tweeted, “We have lost the Shakespeare of musical theater. He was the most generous collaborator with the greatest spirit. The joy of working with him was that he knew theater could and should change over time. He was always open to new things.
Considered one of the most influential composers and lyricists of the 20th century, Sondheim’s works included A funny thing happened on the way to the forum, West Side Story, Gypsy, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sunday In the Park with George, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd and much more.
Five of his shows won the Tony for Best Musical, while six won the Tony for Best Original Music. Sunday in the park with George won the 1985 Pulitzer Prize for theater. Sondheim’s accolades also included eight Grammys, plus an Oscar for writing “Sooner or Later,” which Madonna recorded for the soundtrack of the film Dick Tracy.
In 1993, Sondheim won the Kennedy Center Honors, and in 2015, the President Obama awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In 2010, a Broadway theater was renamed in his honor.
Among the stars paying tribute to Sondheim on social networks: Barbra Streisand, Hugh Jackman, Josh Gad, Idina Menzel, Elaine Paige, Lea Salonga and Josh groban.
A statement from the Broadway League reads: “It is almost impossible to measure the impact of Stephen Sondheim on the world of musical theater. Over a career that spanned nearly 65 years, he created music and lyrics that have become synonymous with Broadway… It’s hard to imagine Broadway without him, but we know his legacy will live on for many. years to come.
According to New York Times, Sondheim is survived by her husband, Jeffrey Romley, whom he married in 2017, and a half-brother, Walter Sondheim.
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